It’s Sunday, and that means it’s time for THN’s Three Stars of the Week. Here, we’ll rank the NHL’s three best players in the past seven days. Some will make it because of their prowess on offense; others will earn a mention because of the way they defend. It’s always fun debating and discussing lists like these, so let’s get down to business. In reverse order:
3. Mitch Marner, Toronto: Marner has been under intense pressure from the beginning of this season, but he has shaken off that pressure and is producing points – seven assists and nine points in three games – for the Leafs, who are not coincidentally in the midst of a five-game win streak. Marner has the confidence of Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe, who has played him an average of almost 24-and-a-half minutes in the past two games.
Marner’s work on the same line as center John Tavares (three goals, five points in three GP) has been solid at both ends of the ice, and two of the 24-year-old winger’s three goals this season have been game-winners. The Leafs need Marner to help lead the way on offense, and he’s doing exactly that right now.
2. Jack Campbell, Toronto: The Leafs have been on a roller-coaster ride early this season, but this past week, they looked like they’d righted the ship – and Campbell’s play in net has been one of the main reasons why. Campbell went 3-0-0 over the past seven days, and his key statistics over that span – one shutout, a 1.00 goals-against average, and a .968 save percentage – were outstanding.
With fellow Leafs goalie Petr Mrazek still dealing with the after-effects of a knee injury, Toronto has leaned heavily on Campbell, and he has responded with steely resolve and excellent composure. He is their clear No. 1 starter until further notice, and one of the hottest goalies in the league at the moment.
1. Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton: Draisaitl was one of the Three Stars a couple of weeks back with seven points in three games, and he’s been even more of a beast this past week, amassing five goals and 10 points in three GP. The Oilers star is in peak form already, and he and teammate Connor McDavid (five assists, six points in 6 GP) are tearing up goalies around the league.
Edmonton has three games this week, and Draisaitl and McDavid should again be the driving forces as the Oilers aim to extend their current four-game win streak. Both members of the duo have nine more points than all but two other NHLers, and the two Oilers are likely to run away with the win in the Art Ross Trophy race. The only question will be which of the two wind up with the honor.